ANC aims for political solution in North West despite legal merry-go-round
Party faces conundrum after high court orders that North West chair Mahumapelo be reinstated immediately despite a pending appeal
The ANC was left in a quandary on Wednesday after the high court in Johannesburg ordered that its North West chair, Supra Mahumapelo, be immediately reinstated to his position despite a pending appeal.
Mahumapelo and his provincial executive were removed from office by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) following violent protests in the province.
A task team led by Job Mokgoro was put in place to run the affairs of the party in the North West. Mokgoro was also appointed the premier of the province.
Mahumapelo approached the courts alleging unfair and unprocedural removal. Last week the court ordered that he be reinstated.
In the judgment, judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane found that the decision to disband the provincial executive committee was “procedurally unfair” and breached the ANC’s constitution, as well as the constitutional rights of the applicants.
She found that the decision was unlawful and set it aside. The decision to appoint a provincial task team was also declared unlawful and set aside.
The governing party immediately appealed against the judgment. A court order is usually suspended on the launching of an appeal.
While in talks with the ANC about a political solution, Mahumapelo and his ousted executive approached the court and obtained an order that they be reinstated immediately.
This is despite the fact the term of Mahumapelo’s executive also expired on Wednesday.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Wednesday the latest court decision to reinstate Mahumapelo immediately will also be appealed.
“The term of the disbanded PEC comes to an end today, therefore to reinstate the PEC in terms of [the ANC] constitution cannot be practical,” he said.
A team, set up by the NEC had met the disbanded provincial executive and the provincial task team that replaced it on February 10 to try finding a political solution. A second meeting was expected to take place on Thursday.
This, however, did not stop Mahumapelo from once again approaching the courts to ensure that he got his job back.
This is part of the fightback in the ANC by those, like Mahumapelo, who were staunch supporters of former president Jacob Zuma and are trying to keep their grip on the party, stifling President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to clean it up.
Mahumapelo was part of the group that held a meeting with Zuma at the Maharani Hotel in Durban in September 2018, where a plot to unseat Ramaphosa was allegedly discussed.
At the February 10 meeting between the provincial executive and the task team, Kodwa said both groups were asked to come back and talk to one another and come up with a workable solution.
“Our interest is that this issue must be resolved politically but we have a duty as the NEC to defend the constitution of the ANC,” he said.
Kodwa said the aim is to find a solution that unites the ANC in the North West.